Auckland children’s book authority, reviewer, judge and graphic artist Crissi Blair is the 2019 winner of the Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award for an outstanding contribution to New Zealand children’s books, publishing and literacy.

Crissi has been a prominent national figure in the world of children’s literature for nearly 20 years. She has written for the New Zealand Book Council’s e-newsletter The School Library, and for the Australian review magazine Magpies, for which she is now New Zealand coordinator. Her own sought-after publication New Zealand Children’s Books in Print ran from 2005 to 2013.

She was a member of the 2018 judging panel for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and in 2019 was convenor of these awards. A long-time supporter of the Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust, she was for three years Manager of its Storylines Festival Family Days held annually in major centres. Crissi holds a Bachelor in Design and Visual Arts, with a specialist interest in picture book illustration. She has recently finished studying for library qualifications while working as a librarian at Rangeview Intermediate School in Auckland.

We were absolutely delighted to confirm Crissi as the 2019 Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award winner,” says Storylines Trust chair Christine Young. “Her multifaceted involvement in the New Zealand children’s literature community, including many years on the Storylines management committee, and her ongoing dedication to promoting New Zealand books and reading, and engaging young people with New Zealand literature, meant that the decision to acknowledge Crissi with this award was unanimous.”

Crissi Blair

The Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award honours the former academic, author and reviewer Betty Gilderdale and has been given since 1990 to mark an exceptional commitment to the world of children’s books and awarded to a diverse range of authors, librarians, publishers, agents, booksellers, academics and teachers. Previous winners include Dorothy Butler, Elsie Locke, Ray Richards, K?terina Te Heik?k? Mataira and Trevor Agnew. (See full list below).

A presentation to Crissi will be held by the Storylines Trust in Auckland in early November. Her acceptance lecture and details for the event will be posted on and in the Storylines e-newsletter in early October.

Previous recipients of the Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award are:
▪ 1990: Eve Sutton ▪ 1991: Dorothy Butler ▪ 1992: Elsie Locke ▪ 1993: Jo Noble ▪ 1994: Ron Bacon ▪ 1995: No award. ▪ 1996: Graham Beattie: Award speech: A Fortunate Life. ▪ 1997: Diane & Gary Hebley: Award speech: A Goose, a Gander and a Clutch of Eggs. ▪ 1998: Phyllis Johnston; Award speech entitled An Impressionable Age. ▪ 1999: Betty Gilderdale; Award speech entitled The Effects of Post-Modernism on Children’s Literature. ▪ 2000: No award. ▪ 2001: Veda Pickles; Award speech published as Friends and Relatives. ▪ 2002: Barbara Murison; Award speech published as Tapestries 1931-2002. ▪ 2003: Jean Bennett; Award speech published as Children’s Literature is a Community Event, and the Dangers of Dragons. ▪ 2004: Ray Richards; Award speech published as Do You Know the Way to Castor Bay? A Life in Publishing and Children’s Books. ▪ 2005: John McKenzie; Award speech published as Children’s Literature as an Academic Study: A Perilous Space? ▪ 2006: Frances Plumpton; Award speech published as Climbing the Magic Faraway Tree ▪ 2007: K?terina Te Heik?k? Mataira; Award speech published as Creativity and Expression. ▪ 2008: Lois Rout; Award speech published as Anecdotal Meanderings. ▪ 2009: No award. ▪ 2010: Glyn Strange; Award speech published as Getting in Behind. ▪ 2011: Ruth and John McIntyre ▪ 2012: Gerri Judkins ▪ 2013: Trevor Agnew; text of speech published as The Reviewer Reviewed. ▪ 2014: Robyn Southam ▪ 2015: Trish Brooking, text of speech entitled Past to present: Navigating New Zealand Children’s Literature. Or watch her presentation here. ▪ 2016: Rosemary Tisdall; text of speech entitled ‘A Life of Privilege’ ▪ 2017: Maureen Crisp ▪ 2018: Jeannie Skinner; text of speech entitled For the Love of Libraries

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